I am a complete wuss when it comes to almost all forms of violence – exploding, shooting, stabbing, spearing, sword-fighting, animal attacks… I even turn away when Itchy ‘n’ Scratchy comes on. WUSS. Just the idea of pain and pointy objects sends my skin crawling, and if I’m made to sit through a particularly violent story or movie, I can feel physically unwell if I’m not allowed to leave the room.  It’s a wonder I ever managed to give birth to Arddun without painkillers.

Which is why it is almost laughable that I enrolled myself in a first aid course – and actually showed up.

Arddun, as it turns out, is one of ’em Active Babies. Started rolling belly to back at four months, the other way at 4.5 months, joined them both together at five months, now moving on to an uncoordinated commando-crawl and caterpillar squirm-flop at 5.5 months. Her legs just DO NOT STOP, unless she’s sleeping – which is the only way I can work out if she’s taking a snooze in the car seat. (Section past belly button no longer a blur.) And while I used to smugly tell others that I aim to house-proof my child, I now realise that I won’t always be fast enough. Or intuitive enough. Or alert enough. Or creative enough. Or obeyed enough. And it only takes the one time, before something drastic could happen. Plus if she has any of my genes, she’s going to be tripping over her own feet and getting her face smooshed by basketballs.

I needed both risk management AND crisis management plans.

Hence $150 2-day course littered with heartening worst case scenarios.

From resuscitation to poisons to dealing with LOTS of blood and embedded objects (pen in eye, knife through hand, ew ew ew ewwwww), I sat in a room with 10 other parents and learnt how to be useful when my child suffers the consequences of silly actions – hers, or someone else’s. It was a special first aid course that was geared especially for treating babies and young children, although the principles and practices are largely borrowed from the usual first aid you administer to adults.

I’m very glad I went, but the course did breathe new life into the saying, “Hope for the best, expect the worst”. I pictured Arddun in every scenario we practised, and felt my insides flop and lurch with anxiety. Every time the instructor gave an example of something her twin boys did (knives… benchtop… fighting over it… blood…), I had to mentally laa-laa-laa. The saddest part of the afternoon was spent practising resuscitation on a dummy baby – its wan, vacant expression and sealed-shut eyes an eerie reminder of cot death and a million things that could make babies go too quiet. And here I was, calmly squishing its hollow chest with my two fingers and hearing a whisper of doll’s breath wheezing out of those rubber lips with each poke.

As if that could ever be me, if I found my baby lying still as death. Not breathing.

Anyhoo – all said and done, I highly recommend the course. For while it made me squirm heaps, it empowered me more. And the last thing I want to be when my baby needs me is a useless, flapping wuss.

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